The Growing Role Of Chiropractic In Sports Medicine by Stephen Daniels

Chiropractic medicine takes a holistic approach to treating the patient. Rather than prescribing medication to mask symptoms, practitioners focus on maintaining spinal health, treating injuries and promoting overall wellness through preventative medicine. While this treatment is popular among the general population, many people may not realize that chiropractors have been playing a role of increasing importance in sports for quite some time.





To earn the designation of Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) in the United States, chiropractors must complete a three-year post-doctoral program and residency. Earning the Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (DABCSP) designation will also grant the title of "sports chiropractor" in the US. Today, more and more physicians are getting involved in this field each year.

Twenty years ago, physicians injected injured athletes with painkillers so that they could keep playing. Today, medical experts know that the long-term benefits of treating the source of the injury are far greater than those reaped from short-term performance at the risk of worsening injuries.



With their knowledge of the spine and focus on overall wellness, chiropractors are a perfect complement to other sports medicine professionals. In fact, they have proven to be invaluable in the field. This is particularly true when it comes to preventing injuries of the spine.

As of this writing, 31 out of 32 NFL teams utilize sports chiropractors as part of the health care team; only the Oakland Raiders do not. Their 34 chiropractors give approximately 25,000 adjustments, tissue manipulations and other treatments over a 120 day period. Other athletic leagues also use these treatments to help their athletes.

In 1976, chiropractor Dr. Leroy Perry began treating Aruban Olympic athletes at the Mexico City Olympic Games. By the 1980 Winter Olympics, the first chiropractic doctor was hired to treat United States athletes. Today, chiropractor Dr. Mike Reed is one of two doctors hired by the US Olympic Committee to run the Sports Performance Division at the USOC training center in Colorado. This is a major triumph for the entire profession.

Chiropractic doctors specializing in sports medicine treat patients by examining them carefully. They look for deviations in normal bio-mechanical (the way the body moves) standards that would impair that athlete's performance or increase the likelihood of injury. If the athlete is under the age of 18, muscle maturity is also evaluated to make sure that the muscles can handle the activity. The doctor also teaches the patient how to do soft tissue work that will enhance his or her performance.



Following competition, the physician once again examines the athlete. Any injuries are examined and treated with ice, heat, taping or another modality. Projections are made regarding the likelihood that the athlete will be cleared for his or her sport in the future. If necessary, the patient is instructed on rehabilitation exercises or referred out to a physical therapist or other specialist.

Originally dismissed by the medical profession as fraudulent, the field of chiropractic medicine has clearly proven otherwise. Preventative care and chiropractic treatments are now routine aspects of an athlete's overall health care.

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